Sunday, December 04, 2011

Ships - Robert E. Howard

There's a far, lone island in the dim, red West,
Where the sea-waves are crimson
with the red of burnished gold
(Sapphire in the billows, gold upon the crest),
An island that is older than the continents are old.

Sailing-ships are anchored about that ancient isle,
Ships that sailed the oceans in the dim dawn days,
Coracles from Britain, triremes from the Nile.
Anchored round the harbors, anchored mile on mile,
Ships and ships and shades of ships fading in the haze.

And there's a Roman galley with its seven banks of oars,
And there's a golden bargeboat that knew the Caesar's hand,
And there's a somber pirate craft with shattered cabin doors,
And there's a sturdy bireme that sailed to Holy Land.

Main-trees lifting like a forest of the south,
Beaked prows looming, and the wide courses furled,
Dim decks heel-marked, marked by rain and drouth,
Spindrift in the cross-trees, drift of southern seas,
Dim ships, strong ships from all the world.

High ships, proud ships, towering at their poops,
Galleons flaunting their pinnacles of pride,
Schooners and merchantmen, and long, lean sloops,
Kings' ships riding with galleys on the tide.

3.5 out of 5